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EU approves labelling of settlement products

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The European Union has approved new guidelines on the labelling of products from West Bank settlements that are sold in its member states.

At a meeting in Brussels this morning, the European Commissioner agreed to an “indication of origin of goods from the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967”.

The EU’s instructions on the labels - which will also apply to goods from the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem – state they should say “Made in the West Bank” or “Made in the Golan,” followed by “(Israeli settlement)”.

The move has been in the works for over a year, despite ongoing attempts by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to defer or halt the release of the guidelines, saying that they are discriminatory and damaging to the peace process.

Following the announcement, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked described the decision as “anti-Israel and anti-Jewish.”

“European hypocrisy and hatred of Israel has crossed every line,” she said.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry responded to the guidelines by saying: “Israel condemns the decision of the European Union to label Israeli goods originating over the ’67 lines. We regret that the EU chose for political reasons to take an unusual and discriminatory step from the world of boycotts, exactly as Israel is facing a wave of terror directed at all citizens, wherever they are.

“The claim that this is a technical step is a cynical, baseless claim.”

Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute, commented: "We have long argued that settlement construction is not helpful for the peace process but neither are discriminatory policies against Israel.

“Today's decision will play into the hands of those determined to demonize the Jewish state; offend mainstream Israelis who favour territorial compromise and encourage maximalist Palestinian positions. Any economic repercussions will not be limited to Israel but also harm Palestinian livelihoods.”

Dr Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress, said: “We see that once again Israel is singled out for special treatment above all other nations of the world and this is clearly discriminatory and stands in stark contradistinction to the EU’s own mandate to be fair and free of prejudice.”

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